A UCLA study shows that private lands may be integral to achieving President Biden’s 2030 conservation goals

June 5, 2021

In January, President Joe Biden made an important conservation pledge to conserve 30% of United States lands and waters by 2030. A new study, led by Peter Kareiva (UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability), suggests that utilizing private property through conservation easements could be the most successful and feasible approach to achieving this goal.

Image Source: J.N. Stuart/Flickr

There are four primary strategies to protecting at-risk species: land acquisitions by government entities, land acquisitions by nonprofit organizations, governmental regulations and conservation easements. Easements are growing in popularity since they allow private property owners to voluntarily give the government or conservation organizations the legal right to use their land. This usually manifests as restrictions in the amount and type of future development allowed on the property.

Kareiva’s new study provides support for the use of these conservation easements. It shows that many threatened and endangered species are primarily, or only, found on private lands. This makes private property crucial to conservation efforts. Since the study only focused on Alabama, however, researchers acknowledge that there may be some regional differences in the value of easements. This is because effectiveness depends upon whether species of high conservation priority exist on private lands. It will therefore be the public-private combination of well-positioned conservation easements with the existing network of protected public lands that will make the 30% by 2030 goal possible.

Read more at UCLA Newsroom

Study Authors:

Peter Kareiva, Aquarium of the Pacific; UCLA, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Mark Bailey, Conservation Southeast, Inc.

Dottie Brown, Brown Environmental 13

Barbara Dinkins, Dinkins Biological Consulting, LLC

Lane Sauls, VHB

Gena Todia, Wetland Resources Environmental Consulting